As well as the art onslaught we sought in the UK the other key motivation to travel around this small isle was to visit Dotahn’s cousin Anat. The last time the cousins had hung out was over 17 years ago and Anat was the last remaining member of Tahns’s family Emmily hadn’t yet met.
Our train pulled into Manchester and there was certain nervousness, an expectation perhaps, given the length of time since Dotahn had seen his cousin. Dotahn had lived with her mother and father in Israel when he was sixteen and seen her briefly during this time. He had actually stayed in her room. Anat is the arty cousin, running a graphic design business from home while simultaneously looking after her crazy Minions.
Before returning to Anat’s home we met the first of her brood, experiencing the parental taxi service by picking up Anat’s oldest daughter Mia from her drama class. Mia was at first a quiet and slightly shy 8 year old, she had spent the day at a drama camp preparing for a performance of the Lion king. Later on as the walls quickly dissolved she proved to be a bright and articulate young girl with a penchant for emojis.
Back at the house we meet the rest of the family. Ben a 6 year old crazy ball of energy with a love for Minecraft and Lego and Ella a 4 year old with the apt nickname Fuzzball who was very fierce and silly. Anat’s husband Kim is an academic economics professor and researcher who was very welcoming and interested to hear about our lives and travels.
That evening was spent hanging out with the family. As the shyness quickly give way, hilarity ensued. “Ramsbottom” was chanted over and over by Ella and the Minions album is played to the shear delight of the kids. Ella played hair dresser with Emm which devolved into dress ups for even the most unwilling participants. Ben wanted to wrestle and so began a repetitious game where Dotahn would toss Ben over his shoulder and he would then demonstrate his ability to fart at will. Mia showed us paintings of her feet and demonstrated her amazing somersaults skills on the trampoline. This display meant that of course the other kids must then show their various trampoline skills.
After the kids went to bed and we had demolished a lovely smorgasbord of food we stayed up with Anat and Kim drinking whisky and catching up on each other stories. Conversation flowed freely and it was amazing to finally catch up on the lives of family long separated.
The following day after Mia was dropped off at Drama class Anat, Ben and Ella took us out into Manchester for the day. We went to the Lowry museum art gallery which had a fantastic contemporary exhibition which proved fun and interesting for the whole family. Drawing machines, piles of oranges, spacial interventions using humans and interactive demonstrations filled the morning. We ate pizza, walked through the city and spent some time in the park as the kids happily played.
After another evening of rowdy games, delicious food and stories we had to move on. It was sad to leave after such a short and intense catch up, but the rest of Europe was calling and adventure waits for no man.